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Jonas's acquaintance with and service to Larissa allows the reader to understand the respect that elders are given, although there is no concept of privacy as we know it. When he bathes her,
He liked the feeling of safety here in this warm and quiet room; he liked the expression of trust on the woman's face as she lay in the water unprotected, exposed, and free.
Later, Jonas remembers Larissa's comments regarding being Released as he is coming to understand more about the community and its functions.
Lily's role in the story allows the reader to see how the treatment of children changes from year to year. Conversations between Lily and her parents explain changing expectations and expand understanding of how Assignments are decided by the elders.
Mother has an important position in the Department of Justice; she appears to be more involved with her work than with her family. She illustrates the impersonality of relationships, the emphasis on every individual playing his/her role in society, and the importance of abiding by the rules of the community.
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